|Brandon Hodge Contributor|
Hey everyone! I've wanted to do this for a while, and after getting the A-OK from Mr. Jacobs, I'm posting the original statblock for the ghost of Emperor Xin for any GMs who might be so inclined to toy around with his malevolent spirit.
The decision to excise Xin's ghost statblock was a good one. As you can see, it is a great toolbox utility for GMs to harass PCs, but also very complicated. Between the sentient and hostile crystal palace, the visions of the flamma horacalcum, Ogunthunn's machinations, and all the crazy high-level encounters in the adventure, it was just one thing too much for GMs to keep track of, so we kind of consolidated it into the palace's sentience and merged those mechanisms to get the same point and events across. And a lot of these abilities still showed up either in the adventure or in the Clockwork Reliquary, so a lot of it was used in any case.
But for those GMs who like a challenge, or for those who want a close peek at how Emperor Xin was in life (we justified the drop from 20+ level to a 17-level statblock as an unspecified degradation of abilities due to senility), I think this will be a treat. I wanted to breathe life (or undeath, as it were) into the First King, and after some of the criticism I received for having Carrion Crown's BBEG Adivion as the final AP battle literally in the last room of the tallest tower, never before really seen or encountered or introduced, I wanted to redeem myself with a villain you not only felt throughout the entire adventure, but came to intimately know as you tried to unravel his mad machinations. Creating the flamma horacalcum allowed me to show PCs glimpses of a great man's life and his ultimate betrayal, literally giving them a front row seat to his life and works, and ultimately building sympathy for this tragic figure. I daresay that PCs have never gotten to know a villain so well before finally getting the chance to lay him low by the adventure's end. Well, maybe not since Strahd. =-)
Enjoy, but please keep in mind this is an undeveloped statblock. And since it is unpublished, it is technically unofficial. If I run across any related portions in my turnover that might further flesh out the role he played in the adventure (though most of that stayed the same--he just wasn't a true ghost anymore)--then I'll post it. Have fun!
Xin's ghost haunts the palace, stuck in time and seemingly unaware of his own demise, and awaiting the moment when his soul will merge with the repaired Clockwork Reliquary. Xin should be a constant menace to characters, but great care must be taken to use him as an effective story element more than a deadly combat encounter. Xin's ghost is truly powerful, able to rejuvenate quickly should he be cornered and destroyed, but his abilities serve as an effective toolbox to challenge PCs at every turn. He is senile, and equally likely to forget PCs are a threat, appearing to converse with them like a lonely old man. While Xin's statblock is designed as more of a hit-and-run harasser, it is this use in conjunction with his tragic story elements that allows him to be a constant-—if inconsistent and crazy—-foe that GMs can use to breath life into the adventure. Until merged with the Clockwork Reliquary, Xin's ghost should rarely engage PCs for more than a few rounds at a time, using his wide range of abilities to harass intruders with maniacal delight before fleeing through the palace's walls, only to encounter them again several rooms later or within deserted hallways to pontificate on the glories of his rule and approaching reconquest of Avistan. His presence can also be used as an alternative trigger to the adventure's phantasms—an important story element for PCs to experience. He might use his construct malevolence ability to take over the body of an unusually friendly clockwork servant to trick PCs into his confidence with his considerable wile as he leads them into traps. Other times, he may spring palace defenses as PCs attempt to rest, or use his telekinesis while they are otherwise engaged to trip or bull rush PCs. While the ghost shows up in a few stated encounters, use him to weave a tragic story element into the palace, not only through his abilities, but with his personality.
Ghost of Xin CR 19
Male venerable Azlanti ghost wizard 17
CN Medium undead (augmented humanoid, incorporeal)
Init +2; Senses darkvision 60 ft., see invisibility; Perception +34
AC 33, touch 24, flat-footed 30 (+9 armor, +11 deflection, +2 Dex, +1 dodge)
hp 275 (17d6+213)
Fort +20, Ref +11, Will +22
Defensive Abilities incorporeal; channel resistance +4; rejuvenation Immune undead traits SR 18
Speed 0 ft., fly 30 ft. (perfect)
Melee corrupting touch +10 (19d6, Fort DC 29 half)
Special Attacks corrupting gaze (DC 29), frightful moan (DC 29), hand of the apprentice (13/day), metamagic mastery (5/day), telekinesis
Wizard Spells Prepared (CL 17th; concentration +29; +2 to caster level checks to overcome spell resistance)
9th—mage's disjunction (DC 31), overwhelming presenceUM (2) (DC 31), symbol of vulnerabilityUM
8th—euphoric tranquilityAPG, greater shout (DC 30), power word stun (2) (DC 30)
7th—control constructUM, deflectionAPG, quickened haste, limited wish, resonating wordUM (2) (DC 29)
6th—acid fog (2), persistent bestow curse, chain lightning[/i] (DC 28), enemy hammerAPG (DC 28), greater dispel magic, persistent terrible remorseUM, true seeing
5th—dominate person (DC 27), feeblemind (DC 27), mind fog (DC 27), rapid repairUM (DC 27), wall of force (2), wall of soundUM, waves of fatigue
4th—bestow curse (DC 26), black tentacles, control summoned creatureUM (DC 26), greater false life, ice storm, shout (DC 26), solid fog
3rd—distracting cacophonyUM, haste, howling agonyUM (DC 25), lightning bolt (DC 25), ray of enfeeblement (DC 25), sands of timeUM (2), slow (DC 25)
2nd—burning gazeAPG (DC 24), disfiguring touchUM (DC 24), defensive shockUM, frigid touchUM, make whole, spectral hand (2), touch of idiocy (2)
1st—chill touch (DC 23), corrosive touchUM (2), ear-piercing screamUM (DC 23), mage armor, shield, shocking grasp, touch of gracelessnessAPG (2) (DC 23)
0 (at will)—dancing lights, mage hand, message, touch of fatigue (DC 22)
Str —, Dex 15, Con —, Int 35, Wis 27, Cha 33
Base Atk +8; CMB +10; CMD 30
Feats Arcane Blast, Arcane Shield, Craft Construct, Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Craft Wondrous Item, Deceitful, Dodge, Eschew Materials, Flyby Attack, Heighten Spell, Persistent Spell, Quicken Spell, Scribe Scroll, Toughness
Skills Bluff +27, Craft (blacksmithing) +32, Craft (constructs) +29, Diplomacy +28, Disguise +13, Fly +10, Intimidate +28, Knowledge (arcana) +37, Knowledge (engineering) +32, Knowledge (history) +32, Knowledge (nobility) +32, Knowledge (religion) +32, Linguistics +19, Perception +36, Sense Motive +21, Spellcraft +32, Stealth +23; Racial Modifiers +8 Perception+8 Stealth
Languages Abyssal, Aklo, Azlanti, Celestial, Draconic, Infernal, Thassilonian, tongues
SQ arcane bond (ring), construct malevolence, ghostly trappings, inherent bonuses, permanent spells, phantasmagoria, rejuvenation, vehemence
Construct Malevolence (Su): Xin's ghost has a powerful connection with both the palace and constructs he created in life. As a standard action, Xin can trigger any of the palace's defenses (page 22) with a range of 60 feet. In addition, once per round, Xin's ghost can merge its body with a construct he created. This ability is similar to a magic jar spell (caster level 17th), except that it does not require a receptacle. Xin controls the construct as if it were his own body, and can cast any spells without verbal components while possessing the construct.
Corrupting Touch (Su) By passing part of its incorporeal body through a foe's body as a standard action, Xin's ghost inflicts 19d6 damage. This damage is not negative energy—it manifests in the form of physical wounds and aches from supernatural aging. Creatures immune to magical aging are immune to this damage, but otherwise the damage bypasses all forms of damage reduction. A Fortitude save (DC 29) halves the damage inflicted.
Exceptional Stats (Ex) Xin was destined from his pure Azlanti birth to rule an empire. As a result, his ability scores were generated using the 25-point epic fantasy ability score array, in addition to a +2 bonus to each ability score for his Azlanti bloodline and adjustments for his venerable age. These modifications, along with the inherent bonuses granted by his wishes and grave trappings items, increase his total CR by 1.
Grave Trappings (Su) Though the Sihedron's destruction denied the item to him in his afterlife, Xin continues to be able to use and benefit from spectral duplicates of other important items in his life just as though they were the real things. These special items are themselves incorporeal and can be manipulated by Xin's ghost, and are treated as being part of his form and cannot be disarmed or removed (even by Xin). Should Xin be destroyed, his equipment reappears with him upon rejuvenating. Given Xin's unique nature, these items are all magical. Xin possesses 2 greater rune plates identical to lesser versions of its kind (page XXX) but each holds 30 spell levels, with one currently holding horrid wilting, time stop, unbreakable constructUM, and wish, and the other containing wish, mage's disjunction, symbol of vulnerability, and haste. These rune plates can be further inscribed with spells from Xin's remaining spellwells, following the rules found in Area C8. Xin wears intricate gray robes of the archmagi, and possesses a spindle of perfect knowledgeAPG, a normal rod of quicken metamagic, a normal rod of empower metamagic, his arcane bond ring, and an orb of storms.
Inherent Bonuses Xin's prolific use of wishes in his life have increased his stats. He has a +5 inherent bonus to his Dexterity, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma.
Permanent Spells Xin has made the following spells permanent on himself: arcane sight, see invisibility, and tongues.
Phantasmagoria (Su): Nine times per day, Xin can create elaborate phantasms depicting scenes from his troubled life and rule. This illusion functions similarly to the spell mirage arcana in combination with multiple major images, recreating significant scenes, setting, and characters from Xin's past. Xin's ghost often incorporates itself into the effect, appearing as younger versions of himself as if under the effects of alter self. The entire illusion can be disbelieved with a Will save. The illusion is treated as a 6th-level spell created by a 19th-level caster. GMs may use this ability as an alternative to trigger the phantasms created by the palace's temporal anomalies (see Visions from the Past, page 22).
Rejuvenation (Su) Xin's immortal essence is tied to the palace, and exceptionally difficult to destroy through simple combat. When “destroyed,” Xin's spirit restores itself in 1d6x10 minutes. Xin's ghost can only be permanently laid to rest by either destroying his crystal palace, or after his soul has been captured by the Clockwork Reliquary.
Rune Magic's Master (Su): As the founder of Thassilonian rune magic, Xin is something of a unique spellcaster. Although he is a universalist wizard, Xin receives two additional spell slots of each spell level he can cast, like a rune magic specialist. When preparing spells, Xin must choose a school of magic for each spell level, and use both extra spell slots to prepare the same spell from a chosen school of specialization, allowing him to cast that spell twice. However, he is prohibited from preparing any spells of the chosen school's two set opposition schools of rune magic (see Inner Sea Magic 17) with slots within the same spell level. If the chosen school for that spell level is abjuration, for example, no spell slots of that level can be prepared with spells from the evocation or necromancy schools. Xin may choose a different school of specialization for each spell level during preparation. As his spells are currently memorized, Xin is considered a conjuration specialist for level 6, an enchantment specialist for spell levels 8 and 9, an evocation specialist for levels 2 and 5, a necromancy specialist for levels 3 and 4, and a transmutation specialist for levels 1 and 7.
Telekinesis (Su) Due to the trauma of Xin's immolation, his ghost can use telekinesis as a standard action once every 1d4 rounds (caster level 17th).
Vehemence (Su): Xin's powerful connection to his palace and his creations grants his a measure of mastery over it. Once per round, Xin can possess objects within or areas of the palace (such as the C12 foundry), giving it life as an animated object with a CR no higher than 17. If the target object is being held by a creature, the object can make a Will save using its bearer’s saving throw to resist possession. If the animated object is destroyed, the ghost reappears in its square and cannot possess another object for 1d4 rounds.